September 30, 2023
maps, photos, postcards, 55 b&w illus.
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v2.1 Reference

Multicultural Cities of the Habsburg Empire, 1880–1914

Imagined Communities and Conflictual Encounters

Catherine Horel has undertaken a comparative analysis of the societal, ethnic, and cultural diversity in the last decades of the Habsburg Monarchy as represented in twelve cities: Arad, Bratislava, Brno, Chernivtsi, Lviv, Oradea, Rijeka, Sarajevo, Subotica, Timioara, Trieste, and Zagreb. By purposely selecting these cities, the author aims to counter the disproportionate attention that the largest cities in the empire receive.

With a focus on the aspects of everyday life faced by the city inhabitants (associations, schools, economy, and municipal politics) the book avoids any idealization of the monarchy as a paradise of peaceful multiculturalism, and also avoids exaggerating conflicts. The author claims that the world of the Habsburg cities was a dynamic space where many models coexisted and created vitality, emulation, and conflict. Modernization brought about the dissolution of old structures, but also mobility, the progress of education, the explosion of associative life, and constantly growing cultural offerings.

About the Author

Catherine Horel is Research Director at CNRS (SIRICE, Paris I University)


"Catherine Horel, one of the most profound experts on the history of the late Habsburg Empire, has approached the multifaceted and nuanced everyday life of multiculturalism in various cities of the empire between 1880 and 1914. A topic that is also significant for the present has found an exceptionally knowledgeable author."

—Hannes Grandits

"This book offers a fresh new prism through which to view and compare the cultural and political landscapes of the late Habsburg Empire—mid-sized cities across Austria and Hungary. Horel pushes the urban history of East-Central Europe outside of the familiar (Vienna, Budapest, Prague) to reveal the dynamic lifeworlds in twelve multicultural cities ranging from to Czernowitz to Fiume, Pozsony to Zagreb. With its solid statistical foundation, the book accomplishes what very few studies of the region do: it genuinely offers a history of both Transleithania and Cisleithania, finding in common urban experiences new ways to investigate familiar questions about nationality, state and belonging."

—Maureen Healy

"An ambitious contribution to our understanding of identity and conflict in the late Habsburg empire. Through her meticulous comparison of twelve provincial cities, the polyglot historian Catherine Horel brings an original perspective to the dynamics of social and national mobilization around the fin-de-siècle. Not only are the cities revealed as hotly contested spaces for their inhabitants, but also as competitors with each other in their struggle to modernize and assert civic pride. A key strength of the book, making it invaluable for all students of Austria-Hungary, is the equal attention paid to the Hungarian half of the empire."

—Mark Cornwall

"Based on prodigious research, this study offers fascinating new vistas on the realities of linguistic, religious, and national diversity in the life of midsize cities across the Habsburg Monarchy. It is indispensable reading on the development of popular culture, civil society, and governance in modern Central Europe."

—Gary B. Cohen
Central European University Press

9789633862896 : multicultural-cities-of-the-habsburg-empire-1880-1914-horel
574 Pages
$121.00 USD

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